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Madonna Meth Lab Scenario 2011

     The Monday night class spring scenario for Hazardous Materials II finished their Clandestine Methamphetamine Drug Lab clean-up scenario recently. By referring to the following pictures you can see the desired elements of the various modules learned throughout the semester.

     Right out of the gate the students hit the concepts hard of decontamination set-up and Identification of the hazards they would be dealing with. This was exemplary, as nothing can be done until the initial steps of identification and entry decontamination is constructed and readied for deployment. Once decontamination is chosen, their next correct step was to choose entry team PPE for reconnaissance and confirmation of chemical hazards by using monitoring instruments. In this case due to no direct reading instrumentation on-site, the scenario utilized a color coding system. Here, the suspected hazards were tinted with Easter Eggs coloring and assigning each color to a specific DOT four digit identification number. Hence the scenario had blue, red, yellow, and green chemicals onsite. Once these were inventoried, the class could begin a command briefing and move into the next phase of operations.

     In the team briefing, Prioritization is the second step. Here the students researched the monitoring data {from colors} and began the process of discovery regarding the hazards characteristics and more importantly, the chemical compatibilities and interactions in the advent of uncontrolled mixing while mitigating the release. Here they correctly came up with two separate theories, and with contemplation realized the greater hazard of the two. This was truly exceptional for a first time scenario operation. The key here is to decide, from your monitoring results, what is the worst possible action that could result from clean-up operations that would place your team responders in the direct path of physical harm. Remember; the overall goal is to complete the clean-up with NO personnel injuries. Everyone goes home at the end of the incident!

     The third step; Mitigation, is the strategy and tactics that your team decides it will use to accomplish the desired hazard mitigation or clean-up. This can involve specialized tools, techniques, materials or systems open for use by even the most basic of teams. To minimize the action of incompatible mixing of hazards and safety to personnel, one of these tactics is that of “isolation and separation”. The Madonna Monday Team decided this tool was within their teams’ resources. After choosing an increased level of protection for mitigation practices, the entry team donned level “B” and began the work process. Before this point was the only point of improvement I would suggest. In the photos you can clearly see a reconnaissance entry team member handling an “unknown” chemical in level “C”. I would have preferred level “B” with an unknown in an exterior environment. In reality, a exterior Meth Lab can safely be mitigated using level “C” as long as the APR’s in use are using “acid gas” canisters, but they didn’t know that.

     The fourth step of “Environment” was thoroughly discussed after the incident was mitigated. Here the onsite actions would be recommendations to the site owner/operator as to his options for remediation back to the sites original operating status. This depends on many elements, all of which were discussed. All in all, this successful scenario set a high bar for the “Madonna Wednesday Team” to shoot for. We shall see,


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